It’s great to hear the news that British solo sailor and regular contributor to Yacht Racing Life Will Harris has announced his campaign to compete in the 2019 Figaro Circuit.
24-year-old Harris has partnered with clean energy specialist company Hive Energy for the campaign who have funded the purchase of one of the first batch of 50 brand new Beneteau Figaro 3 one-design yachts.
Englishman Harris who comes from Weybridge Surrey is no beginner to the offshore sailing world having competed on the 2016 Figaro circuit as part of the Artemis Offshore Academy as youngest competitor in the fleet where he won the coveted ‘Best Rookie’ category in La Solitaire du Figaro as well as several other races.
In 2017 Harris joined the Vendee2020 Vision project to co-skipper an IMOCA 60 in the RORC offshore series before being recruited as a Race Expert for the Volvo Ocean Race 2017-18, providing navigational analysis and safety management for the race.
Shortly after the Volvo Ocean Race ended Harris claimed an overall IRC victory in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland race as navigator aboard the Lombard 46 Pata Negra – owned and skippered Giles Redpath – CEO of Hive Energy.
“I’m ecstatic to have the opportunity to return to the Figaro Circuit,” Harris said. “It is a truly challenging fleet and one that is yet to be broken by a British sailor. With the support of Hive Energy and Giles, who is a very experienced sailor himself, I believe I have an excellent chance of making a mark.
“Hive Energy have also provided me with a platform to build upon towards my ultimate goal of winning the Vendée Globe race. Therefore, a number of smaller partnerships for interested businesses are available for the coming season.”
Hive Energy focuses on developing solar parks in the UK and worldwide. They are behind the development of the biggest grid connected solar park in the UK and the UK’s first Super Solar Park, Cleve Hill.
In 5 years, they have developed 26 sites around the UK, making them one of the biggest solar park developers in the country. Hive Energy now also has a network of 7 global offices with many international projects under development.
Redpath who will race alongside Harris in some of the doublehanded events during the 2019 season said he was delighted to be supporting the talented young sailor on his mission to “beat the French at their own game”.
“The Solitaire next year will include many legends of French offshore sailing, including the likes of Loïck Peyron,” Redpath said. “I look forward to lining up against them on the start-line of some of the two-handed events.
“Having sailed with Will in the Round Britain and Ireland this year I recognised that he is a very talented young sailor who deserves our support. Hive Energy is a developer and investor in Clean Energy projects across Europe, there’s no cleaner energy than the sport of sailing so I’m sure Will can be a good ambassador for our brand.”
The first 50 Figaro 3 boats produced for the 2019 season will even be released from the Beneteau factory on the same day in January 2019, keeping training time equal and ensuring there are no unfair advantages.
The draw to allocate the boats took place this weekend at the Paris Boat Show with Harris drawing boat number 20.
“The brand-new Figaro 3s will mean the one-design racing is back to a completely level playing field as nobody yet knows how to make the boat go quickly,” Harris said. “When racing the Figaro 2 back in 2016, there were sailors who had raced the boats for over 15 years and of course they knew more about the boat than I did.
“Everyone will be training very hard when the boats get released in January.”
The 2019 Figaro circuit features five offshore races; two double-handed and three single-handed. The main solo race of the season, the La Solitaire URGO- Le Figaro, is considered the unofficial offshore world championships.
The Sardinha Cup, a new addition to the circuit, will take its place as the first race of the season at the end of March. The race is set to follow a fishing route between St-Gilles-Croix-De-Vie, France and Lisbon, Portugal and will be sailed double-handed.
You can follow Will’s progress on his social media channels and on his website www.willhsailing.com.
For businesses or individuals interested in a partnership should contact Tor Tomlinson at Hive Energy via firstname.lastname@example.org.